A review on the durability of PVC sewer pipes: research vs. practice

Konstantinos F. Makris*, Jeroen Langeveld, François H.L.R. Clemens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
614 Downloads (Pure)


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has become one of the dominant construction materials for sewer systems over the past decades, as a result of its reputed merits. However, since PVC sewer pipes have operated for decades in a hostile environment, concern over their longevity has been lately raised by sewer managers in the Netherlands. Towards that direction, the main factors and mechanisms that affect a PVC pipe’s lifetime are discussed in this article, along with the current lifetime prediction methods and their limitations. The review of relevant case studies indicates that material degradation, if any, occurs slowly. However, inspection (CCTV) data of three Dutch municipalities reveals that severe defects have already surfaced and degradation evolves at an unexpected fast rate. A main reason of this gap between literature and practice is the fact that comprehensive material testing of PVC sewer pipes is rarely found in the literature although it proves to be essential in order to trustfully assess the level of degradation and its origins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-897
Number of pages18
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Volume16 (2020)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • ageing
  • degradation
  • inspection data
  • plastic pipes
  • Polyvinyl chloride
  • sewers

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